Iain Duncan Smith has appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show to explain his reasons for resigning from the Cabinet last week.
When asked why he didn’t speak to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, before his resignation the former Work and Pensions Secretary said:
“Let me just deal with all of that first of all. You are, you know – let me go right back to the time of the election. After the election last year I took a decision – these are decisions you take – if you’re going to join government you have to balance whether or not you can make changes, you can do what you hope to do, on balance you’ll have to compromise, but do those compromises benefit or damage society? I have been passionate about the issue of social justice, I set up a Centre for Social Justice years ago. I have campaigned to make sure that there’s a Conservative way delivering help and support to those who are most in need, not just through money, but through a whole variety of other ways of getting people back into work. My problem throughout this last period didn’t start last week or the week before”.
Iain Duncan Smith, who was leader of the Conservative Party from 2001 until 2003, added:
“Well, I actually thought last year about resigning, I think that actually got into the papers as well, over this attack on universal credit. And again I balanced this and said I will continue because we can continue to make these arguments. What happened in the run-up to this was I progressively got more and more depressed about the idea that we were running to an arbitrary budget agenda which had a welfare cap in it. And although when people – and I’ve heard one or two people try and allege certain things about me – let me just say something about this, it’s quite
important. I sat silently at eight o’clock in the morning of the budget presentation because I then realised the full state of what was actually happening with regards to both the tax cuts and this juxtaposed budget”.
When Andrew Marr suggested that he wasn’t seen as a “great reformer and champion of disability rights”, Iain Duncan Smith replied:
“Well, all I would say is behind the scenes we have spent a lot trying to even out and smooth out those proposals and policies. You know, for example, discretionary housing payments massively increased at my request and demand from the Treasury, so that people who had difficult problems, local authorities would be able to give them much more money and support them. You know, we did exempt disability benefits, we actually did not – we let them rise”.